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Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > British Foreign Office becomes Hajj Advisory Office sets up consulate for pilgrims in Mecca with Muslim staff

British Foreign Office becomes Hajj Advisory Office sets up consulate for pilgrims in Mecca with Muslim staff

December 15, 2005

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  • http://www.blackburn.gov.uk/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.20039

    HAJJ PILGRIMAGE 2006: ADVICE TO BRITISH HAJJIS


    http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101396253177

    Every year, around 25,000 British Muslims travel to Makkah (Mecca) for Hajj. There is a continuing high threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia. All those considering making the pilgrimage this year should consult the Foreign Office's Travel Advice before making a final decision on whether to travel to Saudi Arabia (see Travel Advice: Saudi Arabia).

    The information below contains practical advice and explains what services the British Hajj Delegation can offer British Pilgrims should they choose to travel to Saudi Arabia.

    1. Travellers Checklist
    2. Before you go
    3. Arrival and Departure at Jeddah Airport
    4. Health and Welfare
    5. Help and Assistance
    6. Dual Nationality
    7. Useful Contact Details




    Travellers Checklist
    • Check that you have the correct tickets and ticket details.
    • Make sure that you book your tickets through an ATOL registered agency to avoid unnecessary difficulties. For more information please visit www.atol.org.uk.
    • Have contact details for your tour operator in the UK and get their representatives in Makkah.
    • Get travel insurance for aspects of your journey.
    • Check that you have had the required vaccinations for your pilgrimage, and that you have vaccination cards with you.
    • Ensure that your passports are in good condition and the necessary visas are in place.
    • Make copies of your passport, insurance policy plus emergency numbers and ticket details. Leave these copies, your itinerary and correct details with family and friends.
    • Existing medication should be clearly labelled for each individual. Individuals on medication should make sure that they have adequate quantities to get them through the Hajj period.
    • Check the FCO travel advice to make sure that you are up to date with the situation In Saudi Arabia at www.fco.gov/travel or call 0845 850 2829.
    • Make sure that you have contact details of the Hajj Delegation Clinic and Consular service that is available during the Hajj period. This is available to British Hujjajs in times of need.



    Before you go

    A successful pilgrimage requires careful preparation. Talk to those who have already performed the Hajj. Make sure your passport and visa for Saudi Arabia are in order. Take a photocopy of your passport and keep it with you at all times. To comply with Saudi Government regulations, only use a use a travel agent that is accredited with the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the UK to book travel and accommodation. Be clear about what is included in your package, and confirm the full itinerary for your pilgrimage before departing the UK.


    Arrival and Departure at Jeddah Airport

    The Saudi authorities take their Hajj responsibilities very seriously. The well-being of pilgrims is very important to them. But the numbers arriving at and departing from Jeddah airport during the Hajj can be daunting. Pilgrims should be prepared for delays. Basic facilities are available, but it is a good idea to take food and water with you. Think of the particular needs of elderly pilgrims travelling with you.

    On arrival, the Saudi authorities will take your passport in exchange for a receipt. The Pilgrim Guides Establishment will hold it for you while you are performing Hajj and return it to you on departure. We strongly advise that you carry a photocopy of your passport (back page and visa page) at all times. It is also useful to keep with you the addresses and telephone numbers of your hotel, family and friends.



    Health and Welfare

    A successful Hajj requires patience and thought to safeguard your and others' safety. Some 2 million pilgrims visit the Holy sites during the Hajj. Some of the Holy places can be very crowded, particularly at the stoning of the Satans at Mina and the circumambulation of the Kaaba. The crowds can be particularly daunting for the elderly or frail.

    Pilgrims can become separated from their family or friends. Make a note of the location of your camp and tent and agree a meeting point with family and friends in case you do become separated. The performance of Hajj is physically demanding, even if you are fit.

    Pilgrims need to protect themselves from the sun, dehydration, exhaustion, foot problems, and respiratory and bronchial illnesses.

    Always make sure you carry enough food and water, an umbrella to protect you from the sun and a spare pair of sandals. Paying particular attention to personal hygiene and sanitation will help you avoid illness. If you are taking medication you should bring an adequate supply, accompanied by a doctor's certificate describing the medication. This will help you avoid problems with Customs. Always carry essential medicines with you.

    The Saudi Government provides adequate and widely available services. The British Hajj Delegation can provide emergency medical and consular assistance at Makkah during the Hajj. However, the numbers using all these services can, at times, be overwhelming.


    Meningitis

    It is compulsory for you to be inoculated with the 'quadrivalent' meningococcal vaccine (ACWY Vac), which protects against four different strains of meningitis.

    Consult your GP if you are in any doubt and see the Department of Health website
    www.dh.gov.uk



    Avian Flu

    The risk of avian flu to British nationals travelling to Saudi Arabia is currently extremely low, but pilgrims should keep themselves updated with the FCO guidance. See Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet.

    Help and Assistance

    We hope that you have a trouble-free Hajj. If something does go wrong British pilgrims will be able to get assistance from either the Consular General in Jeddah or the British Hajj Delegation in Mecca. The 2006 Delegation headed by Lord Patel of Blackburn, is a team of volunteers from the British Muslim Community. They will be in Saudi Arabia throughout the Hajj to provide help and assistance to British Hajjs. The Delegation comprises a team of doctors and counsellors, who will offer initial support and advice. Muslim staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will accompany them, and working with the British Consulate General in Jeddah, the Delegation can provide you with a range of Consular services.

    The Delegation will be located in the Al Hateem Tower Hotel, Al Misfala, Ibrahim Al Khalil Street, Makkah (Mecca) See useful contact details' section.

    Working with the British Consulate-General in Jeddah, the delegation will provide you with a full range of consular services.

    The Delegation can
    • Advise you on how to transfer money
    • Provide contact details for local lawyers and hospitals
    • Arrange for a next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures
    • Offer initial medical advice and assistance
    The Delegation cannot
    • Rearrange travel bookings
    • Get involved in lost baggage disputes
    • Pay your hotel, legal, medical or travel bills
    • Get you out of prison
    • Give legal advice
    • Intervene in court cases
    • Investigate a crime
    The British Hajj Delegation 2005 is headed by Lord Patel of Blackburn.



    Dual Nationality

    The Saudi authorities do not recognise dual nationality and may, therefore, confiscate second passports. Pilgrims should be aware that the Hajj authorities might also group them according to the nationality of the passports they carry. This could result in separation from family and friends if you carry a different passport to them.

    Pilgrims travelling on a non-British passport are not entitled to Consular assistance from the British Consulate-General. British nationals who choose to travel on non-British passports should ensure that all British visas or endorsements are clearly shown in that passport.

    Any documentation required to re-enter the United Kingdom should be obtained before leaving the UK, to prevent any delays in returning.


    Useful Contact Details

    In Saudi Arabia

    British Hajj Delegation

    Al Hateem Tower Hotel, Telephone: (02) 576 0688/0669

    Al Misfala, Ibrahim, Al Khalil Street (opposite King Fahad entrance gate, Makkah)

    British Consulate-General, Jeddah

    Telephone: (02) 622 5550

    Fax: (02) 622 6249

    Ministry of Hajj

    Jeddah, Telephone: (02) 665 5811

    Emergencies

    Ambulance, Telephone: 997

    Police, Telephone: 999

    Traffic Accidents, Telephone: 993

    Airline Offices in Jeddah

    Lufthansa, Telephone: (02) 665 0000

    KLM, Telephone: (02) 667 0888

    Air France, Telephone: (02) 651 2000

    Saudi Air (In Saudi only): 9200 22222

    Phone Calls

    To call the UK from Saudi Arabia dial 0044 before the next number (If the next digit is '0', drop it and dial the next number)

    To call Saudi Arabia from the UK dial 00 966 before the next number

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    http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/september03_index.php?l=4

    Foreign Office & Dept of Health support for British Hajjis

    Over 20,000 British Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage every year. Many also visit Mecca for Umra and travel to Medina to pray in the Prophet's mosque. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office with support from Muslim community organisations has established a Hajj Advisory Group, a body that provides services to British Hajjis such as medical care. A consular office is also established in Mecca during Hajj, with Muslim staff. The Department of Health has also conducted campaigns to notify Muslims of vaccination requirements.

    1st Dhul Hijjah 1st or 2nd January 2006 l Yawm ul-'Arafah 9th or 10th January 2006 l Eid-ul Adha 10th or 11th January 2006
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